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Summerland

Pete Miller

1997. Tenth Planet Records Vinyl Album.

Also on

1999. Gear Fab Records CD

 
1. Where Did It Go? (1968)
2. The In Things (1966)
3. Time Has No Meaning (1967)
4. Time And Time Again (1966)
5. Forget Me Not (1967)
6. Who Cares About The Moon (1967)
7. Soho Solitaire (1967)
8. Sweet Talk Town (1966)
9. Peter Pan (1966)
10. Willow Tree (1966)
11. Antoinette (1966)
12. Fiesta Time (1966)
13. Listen Girl (1966)
14. Oh Miss Halliday (1966)
Musicians:
Drums: Robert Newton, LukeWatson, Micky Waller
Bass: George Parsons, Johnny Larke, Pete Miller
Guitars: Tony Webster, Pete Miller
Organ: Peter London
Piano: Paul Gunnell
Mellotron: Derek Shepherd
Sax: Johny Byles
Violin: Alan McClennan
Percussion: Robert Newton, Pete Miller
Oboe: unknown
Vocal backing: Ricky Southern,
Luke Watson, Tony Webster, Shirley Larke
All tracks written and produced by Peter Miller
except "Time Has No Meaning" (Pete Miller/Tony Webster)
Front cover: Flatford Mill (detail) by John Constable
Sleeve design by David Anton of The Artwork Studio

 

New York Magazine (U.S.)1998
Summerland / Homage to CatatoniaIt's great to watch a guitar player stumble onto the work of Pete Miller, to witness the progression of surprised amusement to jaw-dropping awe. Then, the inevitable question: "Where did this guy come from?"

He's been around. Miller got his first taste of fame in his native England as a member of Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers, an instrumental rock group who had a number two UK hit with ''Can Can 62," and with whom he toured extensively, sometimes sharing bills with the likes of the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

After leaving the Jaywalkers, he did some solo work (some under his own name, some as Big Boy Pete), and wrote pop songs for a publishing company. Eventually he settled in San Francisco, built a recording studio, started a record company, and released "Pre C.B.S.", "Rockin' is My Bizness", and "Double Diamonds", three of the coolest, quirkiest rock 'n' roll albums ever made.

These new re-releases date from Miller's solo period in the UK. Tne first, Summerland, is a masterpiece of mid-sixties pop that would define the style if it weren't totally unknown. Miller's aptitude for writing great melodies, as well as coming up with perfect, poetic guitar lines is amazing.

Homage to Catatonia is a collection of late '60s gems credited to Big Boy Pete, Miller's psychedelic alter-ego. It, too, shows off Miller' s exquisite pop sensibilities along with some strange effects and stranger lyrics. Titles like "Music Created by Dust", "Knit Me a Kiss," and "I Am Seldom Twenty One" give you a pretty good idea.

Brilliant work from a true rock genius - and fun listening, to boot. -- Chuck Cuminale


 

Twist and Shake 2000
Summerland

Starting last year, the Gear Fab posse began pushing the screwy but charmingly scrumptious sonics of Big Boy Pete, who served time as lead guitarist for the English superstar band The Jaywalkers before sneaking off into his home studio and launching a prolific solo career as an eccentric paisley plastered wizard.

"Summerland" is an accurate representation of this multi-talented maverick's genius, as the tunes are drawn of nutty and surreal poetry, eclipsed by toe-tapping rhythms and bubblegummy hooks smiling with glee. -- Beverly Paterson


 

AMG EXPERT REVIEW
Summerland

Summerland has the same eerily compressed production values featured on the brilliant psychedelic work of Pete Miller, his vocals slathered in echo and almost crawling out from beneath the music. But whereas that vocal effect worked to perfection on his trippiest work, in the more conventional pop-demo setting of Summerland, it instead exposes his limitations as a singer, perhaps the only reason he never became a well-known figure in the Brit-pop world ofthe '60s. That is quibbling, to say the least, because his vocals, while not rangy, are still full of warmth and alluring mystery. But otherwise, there is no logical explanation for such a criminal oversight in the annals of rock & roll. Miller was an astoundingly unique songwriter -- possibly one of the most weirdly idiosyncratic from the era -- and that is plenty evident even on the more "commercially" oriented material collected on this reissue.

All the songs were written and recorded between February 1966 and February 1968, the same stretch during which he was also virtually inventing (or at least helping to invent) oddball British psychedelia, and the music strongly reflects that sonic influence. So as usual, even his mainstream-targeted music is not exactly flying straight. Summerland, however, like most of his other work, squarely hits the bull's-eye. Miller runs through galloping psychedelia ("Where Did It Go?," with its freakish guitar solos), angst-filled pop ballads, lurching rock, even proto-country-rock lopes on "Forget Me Not" and "Sweet Talk Town," as well as the expected British invasion beat music influences on the excellent "Oh Miss Halliday," with each song spotlighting his extensive melodic skill.

The amazing thing about the music (besides its diversity), though, is that it doesn't really sound like any music that came before or after it, and it is not at all beholden to the main influences of its era. If not as readily accessible to the public, Miller was every bit as individual in his way as the Beatles or Bob Dylan were in theirs, which is saying something indeed. Some of these songs are touched by a far-out mysticism, but generally, he penned a set of lyrics that were much more grounded in early romance, particularly of the teenage variety, and are far more straightforward than his trippy, Edward Lear-by-way-of-Joe Meek opuses. And Summerland isn't as consistently exceptional as his psychedelic collections -- maybe partly because one expects glorious eccentricity from Miller -- but it often reaches significant highs that make his neglected reputation all the more tragic. -- Stanton Swihart

Rock Beat International
Summerland

Summerland compiles Miller's more pop-oriented recordings from the period of 1966 to 1968, and is filled with excellent examples of Merseybeat- style pop. "The In Thing" sets lyrics of closely observed social satire to a catchy pop tune in a manner reminiscent of Ray Davies' "Dedicated Follower of Fashion." "Time Has No Meaning" is a lovely echo-laden ballad with lots of reverbed guitar. On "Solo Solitaire," Miller chronicles a doomed love affair set against the backdrop of Soho and music with a slightly Eastern flavor. "Willow Tree" and "Listen Girl" are simply great pieces sixties guitar pop. If you enjoy the sixties era pop sounds of groups such as the Bee Gees, The Hollies and Herman's Hermits, it's a safe bet that you will enjoy this as well. -- Geoff Cabin

 

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